Outdoor Skills - Hunting Q&A

I'm looking to make a gun purchase, but I don't hunt. This firearm would strictly be for self-defense while hiking and camping in the western United States, Canada, and Alaska. I've decided on a rifle, since handguns can't be transported through Canada. At the local gun shop they're all infatuated with the new .450 Marlin. How do think this would work? While I personally am not opposed to climbing a tree, I frequently take my family along, and their safety comes first. Can you recommend anything

The .450 Marlin is a fine cartridge. It was developed to safely duplicate the ballistics of "hot" handloads in the .45/70, which has been available in Marlin lever-action rifles for many years. A Marlin lever action in .450 would work--if you can tolerate the somewhat tough recoil. A big, hard-hitting bullet doesn't do any good if the bullet only hits air! If you're at all recoil sensitive, I'd suggest the good old .45/70 instead, in the Marlin 1895 Guide Gun with a handy 18-1/2-inch barrel. Loaded with Winchester's fine ammunition featuring the 300-grain Nosler Partition Gold, it will stop any varmint in North America at the close ranges you'd be shooting.